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TD Ameritrade's New Facebook Chat Bot Sprung From A Hackathon

TD Ameritrade's New Facebook Chat Bot Sprung From A Hackathon

TD Ameritrade Holding Corp. (NYSE: AMTD) joined the ranks of Bank of America Corp (NYSE: BAC) American Express Company (NYSE: AXP) and Mastercard Inc (NYSE: MA) as the latest financial firm to launch a Facebook Chatbot.

The bot, which is available on Facebook Inc (NASDAQ: FB) Messenger, is part of the company’s larger “Conversational commerce” strategy that includes a partnership with (NASDAQ: AMZN) Alexa.

Here are three things to know about the service.

1. It Started With A Hackathon

According to Sunayna Tuteja, the director of emerging technologies and innovation at TD Ameritrade, a Facebook chatbot is something the brokerage has been interested in since early 2017. But it wasn’t until they opened the idea up to their employees via a 24-hour hackathon in April that the roadmap was built.

“We said ‘We believe Facebook is a new opportunity to access our consumers, but you tell us’” Tuteja told Benzinga. ‘The hackathon definitely solidified our business case, but also it gave us such a rich menu of use cases to start out strong from the get go.”

2. You Don't Need A TDA Account To Use It

Roughly 70 percent of the experience is open to anybody on Facebook, Tuteja said. This is because most of the bot’s functionality right now is in the form of real-time market information and investing education.

“The only thing that clients get is account specific information and the self-serve option” she said.

3. You'll Eventually Be Able To Trade Through The Bot

The ability to trade is the biggest piece of feedback Tuteja said she’s gotten so far, so that will one day be a feature of the bot.

“The ability to trade is the next logical step and that’s something we’re already working towards,” she said. “And it makes sense.”


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